New fishing closures proposed for crab

Guardian Watchman Ernie Mason labeling crab traps.

Over the past five years, CCIRA has completed the most extensive Dungeness crab studies ever conducted on the Central Coast. Using a combination of science and indigenous knowledge, this research was spurred on by declines in our FSC catches over the past 20 years. The overarching goal has been to gather information to improve management and restore crab populations and FSC harvests. Now, with the research findings in hand and a productive working partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), we are poised to see new management actions for Central Coast crab adopted by DFO this winter.  

The two key findings from our published research papers are: (1) our catches have declined such that we cannot meet our FSC needs, and (2) fishing closures can help crab populations recover. With these results in mind—and with the aim of restoring FSC catches—we have identified numerous locations in our territories where crab fishing closures could be implemented. 

Our research is consistent with other studies showing that marine sanctuaries free from fishing can help populations recover.”

Notably, our research results are consistent with a large body of research showing that marine sanctuaries free from fishing can help depleted populations recover. Through a consensus-driven collaboration with DFO over the past two years, 17 different locations have been identified as potential recreational and/or commercial fishing closures on the Central Coast.  

However, before any new fishing closures can be adopted, a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process has been undertaken over the last six months and is almost complete. Through webinars and a workshop, our Nations and DFO will work with recreational and commercial fishers to review the proposed closures and finalize or revise recommendations for these areas. The hope is that new closures will become part of the Integrated Fisheries Management plan for summer 2020. 

…the science and our fishers’ are telling the same story: recreational and commercial fishing pressures are reducing the size and abundance of crab to the point that our Nations cannot meet our FSC needs.” 

Map of Central Coast showing proposed crab fishing closures.
Proposed commercial and recreational crab fishing closures on the Central Coast.

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